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Hat Trilogy #1

I Want My Hat Back

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A picture-book delight by a rising talent tells a cumulative tale with a mischievous twist.

The bear’s hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as the bear begins to despond, a deer comes by and asks a simple question that sparks the bear’s memory and renews his search with a vengeance. Told completely in dialogue, this delicious take on the classic repetitive tale plays out in sly illustrations laced with visual humor—and winks at the reader with a wry irreverence that will have kids of all ages thrilled to be in on the joke.

40 pages, Hardcover

First published September 27, 2011

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About the author

Jon Klassen

64 books1,379 followers
Jon Klassen received the 2010 Canadian Governor General’s Award for his illustrations in Caroline Stutson’s Cat's Night Out. He also created illustrations for the popular series The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place and served as an illustrator on the animated feature film Coraline (2009). I Want My Hat Back is the first book he has both written and illustrated. Originally from Niagara Falls, Canada, he lives in Los Angeles.

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5 stars
17,703 (57%)
4 stars
8,179 (26%)
3 stars
3,233 (10%)
2 stars
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645 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,489 reviews
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
832 reviews3,724 followers
February 15, 2021
Excuse me, have you seen an adult enjoying this book?

No. Why are you asking me.
I haven't seen her.
I haven't seen any adults enjoying this book anywhere.
I would not enjoy this book.
Don't ask me any more questions.

OK. Thank you anyway.

Ps. Yes, I'm currently reading all the books I received for my students. What do you mean, it shows?

People, I swear. Sigh.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Melissa.
Author 26 books354 followers
June 15, 2011
I think the best way to tell you about I Want My Hat Back is to describe my family’s reaction to it. I was sent a review copy by the publisher (the official pub date is Sept. 27), and I began reading it right out of the package, standing in the living room. A bear has lost his hat, and he wants it back. He asks a fox; the fox hasn’t seen it. He asks a frog; no luck there either. He asks a rabbit—a rabbit who happens to be wearing a pointy red hat.

“No. Why are you asking me,” replies the rabbit. “I haven’t seen it. I haven’t seen any hats anywhere. I would not steal a hat. Don’t ask me any more questions.”

By this point I’m laughing out loud and I have to go right away and show the book to the rest of my family. This book is begging to be read aloud by a daddy like Scott.

They’re in the kitchen, Scott and my three older girls, ages ten, twelve, and sixteen. I thrust the book before their faces, you’ve got to read this, and we stand there turning the pages together. At the rabbit’s remarks, the girls burst out laughing. The animals’ deadpan expressions and terse, uninflected dialogue make this exchange viciously funny.

We’re huddled around the book, reading on silently. The bear asks many more animals, with no success, and finally flops down in the grass and stares at the sky. My poor hat. I miss it so much.

And then the bear remembers where he’s seen it. I’m not going to say what happens after that, but it made my daughters shriek with laughter and shock, even the teenager. My husband gasped. I howled. Rilla, when we read it to her later, chortled wickedly.

I don’t think everyone will approve of the ending. I’ve had three-year-olds who would be very upset by the turn of events. Most six-year-olds I’ve known would, I think, embrace it with glee.

Today I tweeted, “I really want to write about a certain book but various children keep spiriting it away from my stack.”

And my husband replied: “I have not seen that book. I would not take that book. I don’t know what a book is. Stop asking me questions about a book.”

Better watch out, rabbit.

Posted at Bonny Glen.
Profile Image for Destinee.
1,574 reviews142 followers
January 27, 2012
Adult reviewers are loving the very dry humor in this. I chuckled, but it's awfully bleak for a picture book. The plot: Bear loses his hat and goes looking for it. When Bear dramatically realizes rabbit stole his hat he...(spoiler alert) eats rabbit in revenge. The bear's like Lennie in Of Mice and Men, nice and kinda dumb, but under that harmless facade he's a killer. His expressionless face when he utters his last line, "I love my hat," reminded me of nothing so much as a remorseless psychopath. Creepy.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,543 reviews33.9k followers
October 14, 2011
What's a bear to do when he's misplaced his hat? He has to ask all the other animals he meets whether they've seen it, of course!

This charming picture book caught my eye immediately because of the humorous illustration on the cover, and I'm delighted to say that the contents are just as endearing. This story about a well-mannered bear on a quest to find his missing hat is told in simple language, and shares the same sort of gentle mischief that you might find in Sandra Boynton's books for toddlers. I chuckled quite a few times as I turned the pages, but the artwork is really where this book shines. The author/illustrator Jon Klassen did the lovely drawings for the popular The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, and also served as an animator for the feature film Coraline.

I've included a couple of illustrations below, but if you'd like to see more images from the book or to purchase prints, one of my favorite independent galleries in Los Angeles currently has some of the artist's work available at Gallery Nucleus. You can also watch the short but adorable book trailer (that Jon Klassen made himself, btw!) to get a feel for the tone of the book as well.

I Want My Hat Back is a quick and funny read, and one that should be engaging not only for young book lovers, but entertaining for the adults in their lives as well. I can think of several sets of new parents who would absolutely love it.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.

Profile Image for Prabhjot Kaur.
1,039 reviews141 followers
January 20, 2021
A bear has lost his hat and he asks various animals if they have seen his hat. When the respond that they haven't, the bear thanks them and moves along until he remembers that he has seen it somewhere on the way and goes back to get it.

This has unique illustrations but what I loved the most was the author's wicked and funny dialogue.

4 stars
Profile Image for Maciek.
558 reviews3,270 followers
December 4, 2013
I bought this book at the Nottingham Contemporary, a gallery of modern art which was showing an expo entitled The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things. I thought that since I saw a giant inflatable cat and found it to be a splendid sight a book about a bear looking for his missing hat might appear to my tastes as well. Will he find his missing hat or not?

I am happy to report that I Want My Hat Back is a total hoot and I had a blast reading, especially because it had a delicious twist ending which I did not expect and which is likely to amuse (and surprise) both the big and the small. There's a childish delight hidden among its pages and it will certainly resonate very well both with younger readers and their older parents, siblings and friends.

Very much recommended and I'll have my eyes open to not miss the author's other works!
Profile Image for Calista.
3,803 reviews31.2k followers
July 5, 2019
A very cute beginning story about a bear who wants his hat. He is not a bear to be crossed. He is asking all the forest animals about this hat and he realizes he has seen his hat somewhere. The story is simple and the art is simple and it all works nicely together.

The nephew loved the ending to this story. He laughed and said, he was eaten. He gave this 4 stars. The niece thought it was a cute story too. She gave this 3 stars.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,625 reviews5,070 followers
September 9, 2019
Klassen's books fly off the shelves from what I've seen, and this series seems pretty popular, so I thought I'd finally give it a try (plus, it fit a prompt for required reading in my Children's Lit class this semester). I'm so glad I did. I actually laughed out loud at the ending and I really love Klassen's distinct illustration styles, too. Most of all, I dig how Klassen's an incredibly rare children's creator who can bridge the gap between making children laugh while entertaining their parents, too (as evidenced by the shared giggles between my kiddo and me).
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,500 reviews2,315 followers
September 4, 2021
Haha, love this cute book!

I Want My Hat
By Jon Klassen

Such a simple but funny book! A bear has lost his hat and asks all over. The end is hilarious! Not sure if little ones will understand. Maybe better they don't if they don't have a sense of humor!
Profile Image for babyhippoface.
2,443 reviews133 followers
November 4, 2011
Every once in a while I come across a new picture book that I love so much that I carry it around with me and make random people read it. I Want My Hat Back is one of those books.

Oh my word, this book is hilarious. Seriously. And I believe it's all because of Jon Klassen's style. I knew Klassen's name before, not really for the books he's illustrated (Cats' Night Out, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place and more) but for his one-page graphic story in the collection of funny, creepy, disgusting and odd tales Half-Minute Horrors. Read it for yourself here: The Legend of Alexandra & Rose It's a gross-out moment, for sure, but it's fantastic. I just finished reading it with 4th graders in a lesson on inferences, and it's the coolest thing, watching them figure it out one by one. Next time, I will add this book. Clearly, Klassen is a sly one. He quietly slips in vital story elements with a wink, knowing only those paying attention will understand. And it works so well. I'm declaring him the King of Inference. He's fantastic.

Now if you'll please excuse me, a 4th grade teacher just walked in to the library and I have to show her this book.
Profile Image for Jeanette (Ms. Feisty).
2,179 reviews1,898 followers
February 5, 2013
A bare-bones account of a bear who needs a Bayer because he can't bear to go bareheaded, even though his favorite hat barely even covers the tippy-top of his big bear head.

Raise your hand if you think the protagonist looks more like a giant prairie dog. Or maybe even an otter. With bad posture.

If I were any kind of an artist, I'd do a spoof of this. I'd make it an anti-diet book and call it I Want My Fat Back:
"I lost my fat. I miss it. I want it back. Have you seen my fat? What will I do if I never get it back? What if it's gone forever?"
Sure to be a bestseller, so feel free to steal my idea.
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,014 reviews97 followers
March 21, 2017
We just discovered Jon Klassen in 2016 when we read "We Found a Hat." It wasn't until today that we realized it's a trilogy and we read it out of order.

We love Jon Klassen's illustrations and stories. They're so unique and simple. Children love his books.

Profile Image for Pricky.
181 reviews20 followers
December 14, 2011
Klassen's artwork is beautiful and his humorous technique at telling the story of a bear's lost hat is unique.

The writing is simple yet catchy and the drawings are engaging; I particularly liked one scene that was painted red to depict anger...very creative stuff.

HOWEVER!!!!!! as a "children's book" this one is extremely disappointing.

In summary, (Now, while there are no photos showing that, the reader does infer it from a conversation in the end.)

My concerns with the story for children?

Maybe I'm just over-thinking it but I've got children who I want to raise with positive morals.

I believe stories are powerful and great teaching tools, especially for little ones. While small children may not "get" all the subliminal messaging in books, the messages are still there and I believe, we get those messages subconsciously. And if children try to make sense of the world through stories, then what is this story telling them?

I know the story is meant to be sarcastic and funny (and I do enjoy sarcasm)...unfortunately, I just don't find the humor in this one.
Profile Image for Betsy.
Author 8 books2,711 followers
May 28, 2011
I knew it! I knew it, I knew it, I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! When Caroline Stutson’s Cats’ Night Out was released by Simon & Schuster in 2010 it contained art by an animator going by the moniker of Jon Klassen. And frankly I just thought it contained some of the slickest art I’d seen in a picture book in a long while. I hardly even noticed that he was the same guy behind the pictures found in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood. Still and all, until now he hadn’t illustrated his own book. I was fairly certain he might at some point, and I wasn’t sure I’d be looking forward to it. I mean, I thought the man was grand, but could he tell a story? Well, turns out I was right about the fact that his art is magnificent and now, with the release of his first author/illustrator picture book I Want My Hat Back, Klassen shows once and for all that his storytelling talents match his illustration technique pound for pound.

A bear has lost his hat. To find it he questions a variety of woodland creatures including a fox, a frog, a turtle, a possum, a dear, a snake and a rabbit. The rabbit, for the record, refuses to acknowledge having seen the hat in spite of the fact that he appears to be wearing it. And when the bear realizes the true culprit there will be a price to pay. A deeply amusing price. Painted with Chinese ink and digital art, Klassen’s book falls into that growing category of subversive picture books out there. What makes it stand out, however, is how beautifully put together it all is.

A criticism leveled at the aforementioned Cats’ Night Out involved the expressionless faces of Klassen’s kitties. Here you had a book where felines engage in a variety of different dances, yet their faces retain the exact same universal look of deep concentration. I thought it was a hoot. Other folks felt it made the cats too cold and static. So it will be with great interest that I watch the critical reception of I Want My Hat Back. That is because here, being expressionless isn’t just the name of the game, it’s a comedic technique. Klassen can do more with the set of this bear’s head than most artists do with entire bodies. And watch how the eyes work in this book. For most of the spreads the bear and other animals are looking right at you. All that changes the instant the bear lies on the ground, despairing of ever finding his hat again. Now his eyes, and the eyes of the other characters, are looking at one another. It isn’t until you get to the final coup de grace that you realize that the bear is looking at you once more.

As I mentioned before, Mr. Klassen is one of those animators-turned-picture-book-artist. Usually when you encounter one of these (like, say, Tony Fucile or Carter Goodrich) their strength lies in the sheer number of expressions they can pack into a given character. Klassen seems to have taken a direct 180-degree turn in the opposite direction. Expressions here are all about the subtleties, but in spite of that you can still tell he has a cinematic background. For example, there is his use of the pregnant pause. At one moment two characters confront one another on a wordless two-page spread and with just the slightest tweak to their pupils, Klassen creates a world of tension. There’s also his use of color (a sudden red infusion on a page where the bear realizes where he last saw his hat) and sudden movement. Essentially, this artist has figured out that picture books bear more similarities to short films than any other literary medium (I might make an exception for graphic novels when I say that). The result? He makes the maximum use of the form.

Then there’s the language. Klassen utilizes very simple words here, and right from the start the reader is struck by how polite the characters are. Each time the bear finds himself disappointed he offers a quiet “Thank you anyway” and moves along. The turtle too says, “Yes, please” when the bear offers to place him on top of a rock he’s been trying to find. Really, only the rabbit is a rude critter here, and we know where rudeness will get you (don’t we children?). Aside from the stellar pacing which allows the story to flow seamlessly I also loved Klassen’s use of the Rule of Three. We meet two characters that have not seen the bear’s hat to establish the storyline, then run smack dab into the sneaky rabbit. It makes it all the funnier when the bear continues his quest, oblivious of the rabbit's incredibly obvious guilt. And so while I haven’t tried this book as a readaloud quite yet, I have high hopes. If the adults don’t freak out over the ending, of course.

Why would an ending cause parental concern? Well, I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that the book ends with a kind of Emily Gravett/Mini Grey finish. Which is to say, it has a twisted, almost British sense of humor to it. Consider this your official spoiler alert if you like. All set? Okay, so in the last sequence in the book a squirrel inquires after the rabbit and the bear replies with a long, shaken response that pretty much makes it clear as crystal that he ate the offending bunny. This is followed, interestingly enough, by a final silent two-page spread of the bear sitting alone. It’s interesting that Klassen preceded that speech with the bear saying, “I love my hat” and doesn’t end the book with that statement instead. Still and all, the American consumer is not used to finding devoured bunnies in picture books. The fact that the bear has done so off-screen (as it were) will do little to alleviate tender parental fears. Allow me to point out then that due to Klassen’s sophisticated storytelling, small children will not understand the rabbit’s fate, while the cannier older ones will not only get the joke but revel in it. When we recommend picture books to four through eight year olds, we rarely see titles that really do span the spectrum. This book is one of the few. Plus I was really amused by how torn up the plants that had been around the rabbit end up when the bear sits contentedly with his hat at the end.

If I were to sum up this picture book in one word I think I would go with this: Deadpan. And deadpan picture books are rare beasts indeed. They can be done (Edward Gorey’s work comes to mind) but pulling them off so that they’re as appealing to children as they are to adults is no small feat. I think Klassen got away with it here, though. It’ll be the wry child that takes to I Want My Hat Back but the world is full of wry youth. So equally consider both the five-year-old in your life as well as the irony-filled college grad when looking for the right gift. Klassen is straddling the market and we end up the winners. A great little book.

For ages 4-8.
Profile Image for Yoda.
569 reviews110 followers
October 9, 2019
I love reading children books, this one was cute and funny.
Profile Image for SheAintGotNoShoes.
1,557 reviews2 followers
May 3, 2022
I am ashamed to have to admit that even though it has been a good 56 years since I was the target audience, I did not 'get' the ending !!!!! Doh !!

Everyone here said the bear ate the rabbit, and I simply thought he sat on him !!!
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,748 reviews1,214 followers
January 16, 2012
Oh, this it too adorable, nope a bit worldly-wise, but cute too. So funny! What a hoot. The story is simple. A bear has lost his beloved hat and searches for it, asking those along his way if they have seen it. I loved the whole story, although I can imagine some little kids or sensitive kids might find it hilarious but some might be freaked out a bit by it too.

It’s a really fun read aloud book, and for families who have kids with a wicked sense of humor, this book can be enjoyed by all family members.

The illustrations are perfection. The animals are all depicted wonderfully (I adore the deer!) and the colors used are ideal. I really loved the pictures.

4 ½ stars: 5 stars for the illustrations, 3 to 4 (or 5?) stars for the story; even I have mixed feelings

I did laugh at the end!

This one is hard for me to rate. 4 or 5?, 4 or 5?, 4 or 5?
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
November 29, 2014
Since I just discovered Klassen in the last couple years I am going back to read some of his work. He's a terrific artist and a unique thinker that respects the intelligence of children and is not afraid to make it edgy. This book, justifiably celebrated with lots of awards and nominations, has surprises in it you usually don't find in children's picture books. I guess though this is his highest rated book on Goodreads, I liked some of his others a bit better, like This is Not My Hat or Sam and Dave Dig a Hole or the one with Lemony Snicket, The Dark, but Klassen is great. He's sweet, but thoughtful, and can be refreshingly quirky.
Profile Image for Molly.
342 reviews127 followers
October 4, 2015
Loved this one! I don't care it was written for little children.


I had such fun with this short story. After 9 hours at work my brain needed a kick-start to function properly and this little story did the job perfectly. For a few short minutes I must have been a sight in the library, with a book meant for a preschooler in my hands, and a grin plastered on my face. Honestly, I was almost saying aloud "Wasn't that your hat? Wasn't that a hat? What does your hat look like?
Profile Image for Ronyell.
955 reviews320 followers
April 7, 2016

“My hat is gone. I want it back.”

I will admit that when I first looked at the cover of this book, I actually thought that this was going to be a pretty boring book due to how simplistic the artwork looked. Now, after reading “I Want My Hat Back” by Jon Klassen and seeing that this book was nominated for several literary awards such as the Irma Black Award Nominee and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award, I seriously believe that this is one of the best darkly humorous children’s books I had ever read!

Bear had lost his precious hat and even though he asked every animal he comes across, no one has seen his hat (although that Rabbit looks a bit suspicious). Bear thinks that he will never find his hat again, until he realizes that he had actually seen his hat somewhere…

Will Bear get his hat back?

Read this book to find out!

Wow…just wow…even though I had read many children’s books that were dark and humorous at the same time, I had never read a children’s book quite like this one! Jon Klassen’s writing is truly unique as the storytelling is simplistic, as it just details the bear trying to find his hat. But towards the end, this book takes on a whole new level of black comedy that unlike most examples is handled in a rather subtle yet sinister way! I also loved some of the witty dialogue that Jon Klassen put into this book, such as the bear’s conversation with the rabbit:

“Have you seen my hat?”

“No. Why are you asking me.
I haven’t seen it.
I haven’t seen any hats anywhere.
I would not steal a hat.
Don’t ask me any more questions.”

“OK. Thank you anyway.”

Jon Klassen’s artwork is simplistic, yet effective for the story being told here and I really loved the images of the Bear being drawn as a big brown animal that has a spaced out look on his face which makes you wonder if he is aware of the situations happening in this book. However, when the bear finally figures out what happened to his hat, the image of the bear having a surprised look on his face while the background becomes red is surprisingly jarring for the book’s quiet storytelling up until the last few moments of this story.


Parents should know that the ending of this book is pretty dark and although I will not reveal what happens at the end since I do not want to spoil this book for anyone who has not read it yet, let us just say that this conversation between the rabbit and the bear becomes much darker towards the end:

“Have you seen my hat?”

“No. Why are you asking me.
I haven’t seen it.
I haven’t seen any hats anywhere.
I would not steal a hat.
Don’t ask me any more questions.”

“OK. Thank you anyway.”

Parents should check to see if their children understand black comedy and read this book themselves to see if small children can handle the rather dark ending.

Overall, “I Want My Hat Back” is seriously one of the most unique children’s books I had ever read and anyone who loves black comedy in children’s books will get a kick out of this book! I would recommend this book to children ages seven and up since the ending might disturb smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

Profile Image for Shannon .
1,221 reviews2,133 followers
July 27, 2012
This book was sent to Hugh from his aunt and uncle for his 1st birthday earlier this month (July 2012), and it is a real treat.

It tells the story of a bear who has lost his hat, a red pointy thing. He walks around asking all the animals he meets if they have seen his hat, and they all say no - including the rabbit that is wearing his hat! The bear finally realises he did see his hat and runs back to the rabbit to get it off him. Simple, right?

Actually, there's a lot of subtlety at work here, and some good life lessons. For a start, the bear is extremely polite, saying "OK. Thank you anyway." to all the animals he talks to. It comes across as very deadpan and funny because it's almost exaggerated politeness. The illustrations tend to speak louder than words, and while the drawings are as deadpan as the text, the very stillness of the animals' body language speaks volumes. It's hard to describe, so here are some of the illustrations:

Not only are the illustrations just gorgeous, with a toned-down, organic look to them, but the pages are thick and matte and unbleached, or not very white, anyway, which works perfectly with the style and muted colours of the illustrations.

The rabbit wearing his hat is quite shifty when questioned:

[Bear:] Have you seen my hat?

[Rabbit:] No. Why are you asking me.
I haven't seen it.
I haven't seen any hats anywhere.
I would not steal a hat.
Don't ask me any more questions.

[Bear:] OK. Thank you anyway.

I suppose the lesson learned for kids is that: people lie. People don't always tell the truth. They can be dishonest. Don't just trust your ears, but all your other senses too. But don't leap to conclusions either. And always be polite. Ha ha. But more than that. It's a clever story with a clever ending, because to get his hat back the bear eats the rabbit. You don't see it, but when another rabbit comes by looking for the hat-wearing rabbit, the bear in turn gets shifty, saying:

No. Why are you asking me.
I haven't seen him.
I haven't seen any rabbits anywhere.
I would not eat a rabbit.
Don't ask me any more questions.

While it doesn't have the strong colours, bold lines and dynamic drawings that appeal to young babies and toddlers, and the text is a bit long per page to keep their attention, it is definitely a book they'll come to love and appreciate as they get older. And adults will enjoy reading it to them, because we'll get the irony. ;)
Profile Image for Therese.
311 reviews11 followers
July 30, 2020
A cute children’s book that can be read in just a couple of minutes, about a bear who loses his hat. The last page is the clincher, and from what I’ve read, reactions range from funny to controversial. To me, I think it lends itself to early conversations with kids on topics like how they feel when something is taken from them, and appropriate ways to react when they are wronged. Like maybe, eating the perp might be satisfying in theory, but not necessarily the best way to handle the situation.
Profile Image for Ward de Kock.
92 reviews5 followers
November 4, 2019
Gisteren heb ik tweemaal moeten wachten in een boekenwinkel. Eerst ergens in Alkmaar, daarna op Den Haag Centraal. In die tijd heb ik twee prentenboeken kunnen gelezen, De jongen en de walvis van Linde Faas en I Want My Hat Back van Jon Klassen.

De jongen en de walvis gaat over een jongen die schipbreuk lijdt en dan een walvis ontmoet. De illustraties zijn erg goed gedaan, maar ik moet zeggen dat de tekst leest als Xenos-woondecoratie. De clou van het verhaal is dat de jongen na enkele avonturen met de walvis weder thuis keert en leert dat thuis niet is waar je woont, maar waar je (walvissen)vrienden zijn. Tja, dat is ook een manier om de jongste generatie voor te bereiden op de woningmarktcrisis.

I Want My Hat Back gaat over een beer die zijn hoed kwijt is. De platen zijn niet zo spannend als bij het vorige boek, maar wel gewoon leuk. Het verhaal is veel sterker, aangezien het één grote grap is die zich langzaam ontwikkelt, waarbij je als lezer het gevoel hebt dat alleen jij weet wat er gaande is. Dit boek creëert dus een veel interessantere leeservaring en complexere relatie tussen publiek en narratief. Ik zal de grap niet vertellen, want dan is de lol eraf wanneer jij moet wachten in een boekenwinkel.

Doei hè!
Profile Image for Kelly H. (Maybedog).
2,393 reviews219 followers
May 21, 2012
I knew just looking at the cover of the book that I would love it. It's so matter of fact and the bear has such a deadpan look on his face that I just knew it was going to be good. For the first couple of pages I was worried that maybe I was wrong but as soon as I saw the rabbit I was sold.

I'm not really sure this is much of a kids' book though. This kind of dry humor with a dark ending is very adult and the minimal wording and simplistic pictures are perfect. It's is totally my kind of humor and I actually laughed out loud twice. But as a child I would have been disturbed by the ending if I was old enough to see through the subtext and bored if I weren't. I think there are a lot of overly sensitive moms who would convince themselves that their children would be upset by subtext they wouldn't get. So if you are one of those moms, stay away.

However, if you like your humor like Bond likes his martinis then you'll love this book.
Profile Image for Stan.
255 reviews
February 6, 2013
This story makes no sense. What is the point: that rabbit stole bear's hat and lies about it; that bear confronts rabbit and gets his hat back; that bear eats rabbit and lies about it? We're supposed to love these characters? Bear's politeness to the other animals earlier in the story is overshadowed by his later actions. These themes are all offensive and inappropriate for young children, but we extol them because there is a thin thread of humor running through the tale? And yet the whole story is presented in a nonchalant, happens every day manner, just another day in the life so to speak. How a publisher and several children's-book award granting entities would ever think this is a great story for children is beyond me. If this story is not for children, then fine, I missed it, but don't dress it up like it is. The illustrations, in a way, are fun and playful, but warm and inviting they are not, and they certainly don't make up for the themes presented.
Profile Image for Eden.
239 reviews155 followers
June 6, 2012
Um. Best. Book. Ever.

Okay, maybe not the best book ever. (I’m not ready to assign that title to any one book yet.) But holy eff, I’m seriously thinking about buying this one.

Similar to The Pigeon Finds A Hot Dog in that only dialogue occurs, I Want My Hat Back differs in the fact that conversations comprise the plot line—and that there is a distinct lack of emotion (or change at all, really) in the simple but beautiful Chinese brush drawings of the animals. Somehow, this serves to accentuate the despondence of the bear even more. I swear, your heart will go out to the bear as he lies sadly on the ground and says:

My poor hat. I miss it so much.

The dialogue is more than adequate to carry the story. With hilarious responses from various animals, including a sweet moment as the bear helps out a turtle, the suspiciously lengthy speech from the culprit will delight readers. And when the bear figures it out and commences a staredown (and more… no spoilers here, hee), the repeat of the wordy denial is flat-out fabulous. Seriously. $18 CAD? Take my money!

Edit: THIS. THIS ILLUSTRATION. *heart cracks open*

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